The DA condemns the violence at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s (CPUT) Cape Town and Bellville campuses.
We call for calm and believe the people responsible for petrol bombing the institution’s engineering building must be brought to book.
The student protests are about contracts offered to staff who are being insourced, as well as the interdict brought against four students who have been accused of disrupting a council meeting, threatening to burn down buildings and holding members hostage.
In these and all other matters, it is vitally important that negotiations continue. Insourced staff and university management should not be disrupted in their attempts to discuss these matters. And students need to commit to peaceful protest and rational negotiation. Destroying property at our universities only seeks to undermine the potential for parties to meet each other halfway; it often means that the rest of the student population, who are not protesting, are not free to attend classes.
The only way forward is through constructive discussions. This will ensure exams are not disrupted and actual solutions to difficult problems will be found.
Students who do not want to participate in the protests must be able to write exams and should not be victimised for wanting to improve their lives. Their freedoms should not be restricted. They should be free to learn and study in a safe environment.